Why and How to Forgive

Life is precarious, people aren’t perfect, and so it’s inevitable that at some point we’ll be hurt or injured emotionally by somebody’s words or actions. The offense may be something relatively mild (making a thoughtless remark) or horrendous (child abuse).

The question is how do we heal? Should we forgive, and if so, why? And how? And what does forgiveness mean, anyway?


Essential Life Lessons

So, another school year begins, and students once again apply themselves to their studies, vying for top grades and possibly a spot at a prized university.

Regardless of our academic achievements, we learned (or should have learned) many important lessons in school. 


Tips for Inner Peace

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. “ (Unknown)

We all want peace in our lives, right? This sounds like a no-brainer, but the truth is that many of us have ambivalence about peace. We have all sorts of preconceived notions. For instance, a devout Christian friend once divulged to me that she wasn’t wild about going to heaven, because she didn’t relish the idea of endless singing by celestial choirs.

To clear up some misconceptions about peace: 


How to Strengthen Your Intuitive Powers

If we take an attitude of curiosity and open-mindedness towards our feelings rather than being self-critical, a whole new world can open up, including greater access to our intuition.
We all have intuition, but in many cases our gifts of insight have been stifled by our getting caught up in our thoughts, belief systems, judgments, and worries about external circumstances.

Strengthening our intuition can bring us: 


4 Reasons to Practice Self-Compassion

“I’m too old not to be on my own side.” (Maya Angelou)
Nor are you ever too young to be on your own side. Developing self-compassion offers far-reaching benefits.

1) For instance, you might think that taking a stern approach with yourself about your smoking habit would help to achieve your aim. However, a recent study revealed that smokers who offer themselves self-compassion rather than self-condemnation were able to reduce their smoking more than control subjects (Kelly et al, 2010).

In fact, those individuals who weren’t particularly ready to decrease their smoking or who were especially self-critical actually showed the most rapid reduction in their smoking after practicing self-compassion. So, if you think that you’re not “motivated” enough for self-compassion to work, or if you tend to be extremely hard on yourself, take heart -- self-compassion may make a huge difference in your life, and more quickly than you expect.


Breaking Free From Emotional Perfectionism

Are you an emotional perfectionist?

Do any of the following statements ring true for you?

I should always be happy and upbeat.

I should never feel depressed or anxious.

I should be able to snap out of a “negative” state of mind.

Often we have an idealistic view of happy and successful people. We believe that such individuals constantly have a smile on their face, see only the best in life, and are never bothered by uncomfortable feelings.


15 Hints for Effective Communication

The manner in which we communicate with others has a major impact on the quality of our relationships. Yet not many of us were given a class in effective communication during our formal education, leaving us to wing it and learn by trial and error.
Approaching someone to make a request can be scary. There’s no guarantee that we’ll get what we desire, and often we’re a bit concerned about how our relationship will be impacted by the conversation. Getting your point across in a kind and clear manner, when a multitude of emotions are churning inside of you, is no easy task.

In addition, we’d like to maintain our self-respect, which is easier said than done if we’re in a bit of a tizzy, haven’t thought the conversation through, and are intimidated by the other person. 


Tips For Developing New Habits

There's no way around it -- habits are often difficult to alter, especially at the outset. Some habits are more deeply engrained than others, but adopting a new routine is bound to require some extra energy at first, simply because you need to get off auto-pilot and pay more attention to what you’re doing. Our brains naturally prefer “the usual routine” (until we’re bored out of our minds), due to the same ol’ same ol’ requiring less energy, which we can then apply to other matters.

The bottom line is that you need personal and significant motivation in order to make a change and to stick with it for the long haul. So, take a moment to answer these questions, to clarify for yourself how the proposed change may alter your life. Write down some examples for each of your answers.


6 Exercises to Alleviate Depression

Is it possible to be “too” optimistic? Certainly.

Between the two poles of optimism and pessimism there exists a continuum. On one end are the optimists who border on delusion and refuse to face reality. The quote “Denial is not a river in Egypt” comes to mind.

On the other end of the spectrum lie the morbid pessimists, who gripe about anything and everything. It would be fairly safe to say that neither extreme is constructive. 


Key Differences Between Optimists and Pessimists

“If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long enough will change some past or future event, then you are residing on another planet with a different reality system.” (William James)

In his book Learned Optimism, Dr. Martin Seligman explains, "The defining characteristic of pessimists is that they tend to believe bad events will last a long time, will undermine everything they do, and are their own fault. The optimists, who are confronted with the same hard knocks of this world, think about misfortune in the opposite way. They tend to believe defeat is just a temporary setback, that its causes are confined to this one case. The optimists believe defeat is not their fault: Circumstances, bad luck, or other people brought it about. Such people are unfazed by defeat. Confronted by a bad situation, they perceive it as a challenge and try harder."